ICE practice: A year in review
What a year for the information technology, communications and entertainment (ICE) practice, with non-stop client activity that shows no signs of slowing down. The tech community in Toronto has never been hotter!
For starters, in May we welcomed a new managing director to the practice, Salim Teja. We also welcomed two new associates to the practice in 2013, Sonia Strimban and Robin Whittall, as well as several new advisors.
But it’s not about us. It’s about the clients! Check out all of the ICE practice highlights of 2013.
- Long-term MaRS client Locationary exited to Apple in July, putting a Toronto-based startup in the spotlight.
- Tunezy, a commerce platform that allows content creators to sell experiences such as backstage passes, meet and greets, Skype chats and pre-show dinners, to their fans, was acquired by SFX Entertainment in October.
- Bubl Technology, the company behind the revolutionary 360-degree camera, recently completed its Kickstarter campaign, raising more than triple its $100,000 goal!
- InteraXon raised a $6 million Series A round with its brainwave-sensing headband Muse.
- Bitstrips raised $3 million and reached No. 1 in the iTunes and Google Play stores, with user traction showing no sign of slowing down.
- Figure 1 raised $2 million.
- Pressly raised $1.5 million.
- Rubikloud raised $1 million.
The education technology cluster grew to over 250 clients, with several companies closing funding rounds.
We launched our third JOLT cohort in September, bringing the portfolio to 17 companies. We also refreshed the JOLT website and welcomed several new partners. Stay tuned for more JOLT announcements in the new year!
JOLT alumni news
- Greengage Mobile (from JOLT’s summer 2012 cohort) closed a $1 million funding round.
- PUSH (from JOLT’s winter 2013 cohort) blasted through its $80,000 Indiegogo crowdfunding goal, finishing with over $135,000.
The MaRS Commons continued as a physical hub for the ICE community, with a constant flow of action and activity. The highly anticipated MasterCard Deck, a patio space offering networking opportunities for entrepreneurs and stakeholders, opened in the summer. This fall we expanded the Commons to 8,500 square feet, welcoming new tenants Etsy Canada and Hubba. The Commons also hosted countless community events and meet-ups.
We were fortunate enough to welcome several amazing partners to the ICE practice this year.
- MasterCard hosted the first MasterCard N>XT Mobile Payments Developer Challenge in September. The two-day event brought teams of developers together to create a breakthrough payment solution.
- Microsoft Ventures, a global initiative to help entrepreneurs build great companies, partnered with MaRS, one of only three startup hubs in Canada, to provide the tools, resources and expertise that startups need to succeed.
- Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, partnered with MaRS as part of its commitment to accelerating digital innovation in the global education space.
And these are just a selection of highlights. We can’t wait to see what 2014 brings for our local technology startups!
Jennifer Marron is the Community Manager for MaRS. Prior to joining MaRS, Jennifer spent four consecutive years working at telecommunications startups in communications, marketing and PR. Her writing has appeared in The National Post, Techvibes, IT Business, CWTA Magazine and Rouge. Follow her @J_Marron. See more…